Is A Gas War Between The U.S. And Canada About To Start?

The United States and Canada work well together. The countries share the world’s largest and most comprehensive trade relationship, exchanging more than $2 billion per day in goods and services; the U.S. is Canada’s largest foreign investor and Canada is the third-largest foreign investor in the U.S. The partnership clearly isn’t broken, but it may need some mending as bilateral and international gas trade stands to complicate matters in short order. Continue reading

Iran on Way Toward Becoming Global Energy Superpower

With significant oil and gas reserves it would be very hard to ignore Tehran as a major, if not a global energy superpower in the long term, especially if Iran finances its energy projects properly, experts told Sputnik.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) Anastasia Levchenko — Iran possesses the world’s largest gas reserves of 34 trillion cubic meters and one of the largest oil reserves of 157.8 thousand million barrels, according to the experts of major global oil and gas company BP. At the same time, Tehran’s ability to affect the global energy markets was significantly limited by the international sanctions regime. Continue reading

To Win the Second Cold War

BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) – A fellow of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) advocates intensifying confrontation with Russia and declaring organizations in EU countries, receiving support of Russian citizens “agents of the aggressor.” In a recent paper, published by the DGAP, Vladislav Inosemzev is calling for “the West to mobilize the necessary resources to win the second cold war.” These include political, but particularly economic measures. The steps proposed by the DGAP fellow, would result in comprehensive economic warfare against Russia and serious measures against “Putin’s apologists.” Meanwhile, the discussion of policy towards Russia continues in Berlin. Business circles insist on ending sanctions because they fear billions in business losses and the loss of a strategic market. The German government is therefore again contemplating concepts à la “transformation through trade,” according to an insider. These concepts aim at profitable business for German companies, in spite of political confrontation – as in the first Cold War.

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US Sees Huge Energy Opportunity In Europe

If 2015 is anything like 2014 we can expect a wild ride. Oil price volatility – including its downward trend – will linger well into the first and second quarters as global production persists and key conflicts in Eastern Europe and the Middle East show no end. For its part, the United States is better positioned than most – the US is poised to carry the global economy in 2015 with projected GDP growth of 3.1 percent. However, converting this potential into meaningful energy trade and/or soft power is another matter altogether and 2015 offers limited opportunities. Continue reading

Anyone That Believes That Collapsing Oil Prices Are Good For The Economy Is Crazy

Are much lower oil prices good news for the U.S. economy?  Only if you like collapsing capital expenditures, rising unemployment and a potential financial implosion on Wall Street.  Yes, lower gasoline prices are good news for the middle class.  I certainly would rather pay two dollars for a gallon of gas than four dollars.  But in order to have money to fill up your vehicle you have got to have an income first.  And since the last recession, the energy sector has been the number one creator of good jobs in the U.S. economy by far.  Barack Obama loves to stand up and take credit for the fact that the employment picture in this country has been improving slightly, but without the energy industry boom, unemployment would be through the roof.  And now that the “energy boom” is rapidly becoming an “energy bust”, what will happen to the struggling U.S. economy as we head into 2015?

At the start of this article I mentioned that much lower oil prices would result in “collapsing capital expenditures”. Continue reading

Bank of America sees $50 oil as Opec dies

“Our biggest worry is the end of the liquidity cycle. The Fed is done. The reach for yield that we have seen since 2009 is going into reverse”, said Bank of America.

The Opec oil cartel no longer exists in any meaningful sense and crude prices will slump to $50 a barrel over coming months as market forces shake out the weakest producers, Bank of America has warned.

Revolutionary changes sweeping the world’s energy industry will drive down the price of liquefied natural gas (LNG), creating a “multi-year” glut and a mucher cheaper source of gas for Europe.

Francisco Blanch, the bank’s commodity chief, said Opec is “effectively dissolved” after it failed to stabilize prices at its last meeting. “The consequences are profound and long-lasting,“ he said.

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The Role of Greece in the Geostrategic Chessboard of Natural Gas

As earlier described, don’t count Greece out of the picture, as they are much too critical for the German dominated EU to lose. Germany needs energy independence from Russia and needs to keep the EU in tact as a whole, otherwise a broken up European continent would not provide the solidarity needed to stand up to the Soviets.  Without one, or both, Germany would otherwise remain a stagnant useless nation plagued with external and internal security issues. Greece will become a major, if not the major, energy transit hub for all of Europe. China also once hailed Greece as the “gateway to Europe”.

 

Amid the hard times Greece is going through, the assertion that it is turning into an important regional player in the natural gas scene is not an exaggeration. Its geostrategic location on the map offers a number of advantages, which can translate to an economic competitive advantage, as well as to an upgrade of its geopolitical role in South-East Europe.

Firstly, Greece’s role in the international chessboard of pipelines becomes critical. The selection of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) as the avenue for EU’s Southern Energy Corridor, as well as the pending project for the Greece-Italy Poseidon (IGI) pipeline with the participation of DEPA, is decisive; not only will it support local economies during the construction phase, but also ‘locks’ this particular route through Greece as the main entrance hub of Azeri gas to Europe. Continue reading

Why Is Turkey Increasing Tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean?

WASHINGTON—On September 23, the drill ship SAIPEM 10000 — built in South Korea at the cost of $250 million and flying the flag of the Bahamas — arrived in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Cyprus to begin exploring for gas under a license awarded to an Italian-South Korean consortium, ENI-KOGAS. The Cyprus government hopes that additional discoveries over the next 18 months in its EEZ will be sufficient to make its plans to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on the island, to condition gas for export, commercially viable.

The Turkish authorities declared that the drill ship violated Turkey’s area of maritime jurisdiction and sent the Corvette Bafra to monitor operations. Another Turkish warship, the Gelibolu, engaged in planned maneuvers south of Cyprus ostensibly to ensure maritime safety in the eastern Mediterranean. The Cyprus foreign minister, Ioannis Kasoulides, said that exploration would continue despite Turkey’s “potential harassment.” Continue reading

Turkish warship monitors Cyprus gas exploration

…and now we have factual proof as to why a German-led European Union had pushed Russia out of Cyprus and raided the cash vaults. It had nothing to do with corrupt Russian bankers, businessmen or shady politics. The hit was motivated by solidifying Europe’s future energy independence and positioning EU as a future world superpower. In previous posts, it was also mentioned that Greece would be the future corridor for forwarding energy from the Mediterranean, Middle East and northern African nations. Don’t count the ‘broke’ nation out of the game.

 

Turkey has sent a warship to the island of Cyprus to monitor a drillship that has been sent to search for natural gas reserves off the island’s coast.

Italian-Korean consortium ENI/KOGAS has sent the Bahamas flag-carrier Saipem 10000 drillship to the “Onasagoras” gas field in Block 9 of the island’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on Tuesday.

In response, the Turkish navy has sent its Bafra Korveti warship to observe the drillship’s activities.

Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said on Wednesday that hydrocarbon exploration in the region will continue despite Turkey’s objections, calling Turkey’s actions ‘potential harassment’.

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Europe braced for any gas crisis as Russia sanctions escalate

The showdown with Russian president Vladimir Putin comes at moment of surging global supplies of LNG, which can be diverted to European markets and reduce the Kremlin’s political leverage. The price of LNG in Asia has crashed from $20 to $11 per British thermal unit since February.

The pan-EU group Gas Infrastructure Europe said the network of LNG terminals in Britain and the Continent is currently operating at just 20pc of its full capacity. It could in theory boost flows by 160bn cubic metres (BCM), if there is available gas.

This is more than Russia’s entire shipments, which reached 155 BCM last year. The European network of pipelines does not cover every region and would leave pockets in eastern Europe without supply.

“We have a lot of free capacity in LNG in Europe. It would be extremely difficult to replace Russian gas in a just a few months but it is possible to raise supply,” said one official. Continue reading

Energy as a Weapon (II)

BERLIN (Own report) – In view of the EU’s summit meeting, later this week, the “fracking” lobby and NATO are intensifying their pressure for the EU to initiate the highly controversial “hydraulic fracturing.” There are indications that the German Bundestag could speed up legislation allowing this dangerous gas production technique. The outgoing NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen is implying that fracking opponents are in fact working as agents for the Russian government. This incredible slander coincides with global transatlantic strategies aimed at using the current fracking boom in the USA and other western countries, to significantly weaken or even eliminate Russia’s influence as a producer of natural gas. If Moscow can no longer sell its gas to the EU, it could hardly avoid painful budget cuts. This would have serious consequences for Putin’s position of power at home and his influence in global politics. Regardless of such campaigns, German and US energy companies are pressing ahead with fracking in Europe – while continuing to do business with Russia. Continue reading

Italy looks at Mediterranean for alternatives to Russian gas

Italy could increase gas imports from Algeria, Libya and the Netherlands to counter any disruption of supplies from Russia, Deputy Industry Minister Claudio De Vincenti said on Monday as G7 energy ministers gathered in Rome.

“We are capable of rapidly increasing imports from the supplier countries … Libya, Algeria and the Netherlands,” De Vincenti told Reuters.

Italy, which generates more than 40% of its electricity from gas, is increasingly dependent on Russian gas as Algerian imports decline and Libyan supplies are limited by growing unrest in the country. Continue reading

Commodities: Iran challenges US sanctions with plans to double oil output by 2018

As already mentioned here a few times, third world countries have no bottom, thus making any sanctions against Iran’s oil industry worthless. The world has a high demand for oil and all sanctions will do is force the oil route to change direction towards another country.

Iran has unveiled plans to double its oil production by the end of the decade and, ignoring sanctions, pump billions of dollars of its currency reserves into developing its share of the world’s largest natural gas reservoir in the Persian Gulf.

The country’s new oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh, has set a new output target of 5.7m barrels per day (bpd) of crude by 2018, according to the official state-run news agency Shana. The latest figures produced by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), show that Iran is currently pumping about 3m bpd of crude.

Tehran is also sending strong signals to the international community that it plans to press ahead with the development of vast natural gas reserves that it shares with Qatar in the Persian Gulf. Moshtaq Ali-Gohari, head of the National Iranian Oil Company, told Shana over the weekend that the Islamic republic plans to invest almost $14bn (£8.3bn) to develop oil and gas fields that it shares with neighbours in the region. This could signal that Tehran is preparing for the further development of the South Pars field in the Gulf. Continue reading

Gas prices in Europe to rise 50%, if it abandons Russia’s supplies – Energy Minister

Domestic prices in Europe will go up by at least 50 percent, if it cuts supplies from Russia, according to Russia’s Energy Minister Alexandre Novak.

“Moving away from pipeline transportation of natural gas, construction of terminals and deliveries of liquefied natural gas will lead to an increase in gas prices in Europe from the current $380 per 1,000 cubic metres to at least $550,” Novak said in an interview to the Russia 24 TV Channel.

“And the question arises: are the economies of European countries ready to supply and consume gas at such a price?” the Minister asked. Continue reading

Europe Needs to Wean Itself From Russian Oil and Gas…and Fast

With tensions in Ukraine nearing a breaking point, the world is collectively looking to the Western powers for resolution. But, not surprisingly, the response so far has consisted of little more than a wag of the finger, with NATO and other world leaders unanimously condemning Russia’s military action in the Crimea.

While the reasons for this muted response are manifold, it’s difficult to ignore the leverage the Russians hold in this standoff. For starters, the U.S. and other Western powers have little to gain from bringing the Crimean conflict to a head; Russia, on the other hand, greatly benefits from controlling the region, with its strategic access to the Black Sea and concentration of Russian-speaking peoples. Continue reading